Dennis spoke this message to our church recently. I thought it was such an encouraging message, and have tweaked it for this post. To listen to his complete message, click on the audio below. ~ Debbie
If the lingering effects of 2015 try to keep you from fully entering the new year, I’d like to share with you three words that will help you move forward and onward.
Three “F”s of 2016
Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on…. Philippians 3:13-14
Most of us love COMFORT. So much so that we want to stay right where we are, and talk about the good old days.
Yes, God wants us to be thankful for them, but when we talk about the good old days, we have a tendency to stay there.
If we park there, we just might miss what God is doing right NOW.
God is an onward-moving God.
Forgetting doesn’t mean you aren’t grateful for the good old days.
Forgetting says we long more for what God is saying to us in the here and now than living in yesterday.
I don’t want to be looking back so much at the past that I don’t see what God is doing today.
The Wilderness of Disappointments
Looking back at last year, do you find yourself camping in the wilderness of disappointment?
Here are two ways to know if you’re a guilty camper:
- Grumbling, complaining, and ingratitude pour out of your mouth regularly.
- You are reminded by those you live and/or work with of your negativity. For a true evaluation, ask your spouse and children how they’d rate you.
When God miraculously moved the Israelites toward the Promised Land after 400 years of slavery in Egypt, they faced one disappointment after another. And camped out there.
When things became uncomfortable, they longed for the good old days and wanted to go back to when they were eating fish, cucumbers, melons and leeks instead of the daily manna God so graciously provided. *Oy vey! Manna again?*
Yet, in their good old days they were slaves making bricks.
Dwelling on the past and camping in the wilderness of disappointments will cause us to miss out on the great things God is moving us onward to in the now.
Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.~Anne Lamott
If unforgiveness is not dealt with, it festers until a root of bitterness claims your life.
Do you know a bitter person? You don’t enjoy being around them. And avoid them as much as you can. There is no sadder person than one who has allowed bitterness to dominate his /her life.
Forgiveness disentangles you from the people that hurt you so they can’t hurt you anymore; unforgiveness keeps you entangled so they can still hurt you. ~Dr. Caroline Leaf
Forgiveness is a decision of the will, not the emotions.
Forgiveness does not mean that we won’t remember. It does mean we will remember without feeling the pain, after our heart is healed.
Seek counseling if you need help. Take the challenge and work through the forgiveness process. You will be glad you did. Your physical body will be glad you did.
And those you live with and work with will be glad also.
Are you carrying troubles from the old year?
With your marriage? Children? Relationships? Financial pressures?
Be encouraged in 2016 with the writings from a man who confidently declared “I look forward to what lies ahead.” Paul was a prisoner with no hope of parole.
Yet he looked forward to what was ahead for him.
None of us know what the future holds for us. Let’s borrow from Corrie ten Boom’s strong faith:
Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.
Do you identify with the psalmist in Psalm 42 who sang:
Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?
Why are you crying the blues?
Fix your eyes on God—
Soon you’ll be praising again.
He puts a smile on my face.
He’s my God.
Watchman Nee was imprisoned until his death for his faith in China. He, too, looked forward to what was ahead.
To hold on to the past, wanting God to move as he has formerly done. Is to risk finding yourself out of the mainstream of his goings.
To aid in pushing forward, I found The Apprentice Prayer, and pray it daily.
Lord Jesus, I seek to live as your apprentice in all that I do today. My life is your school for teaching me. I relinquish my agenda for this day and I submit myself to you and your kingdom purposes. In all situations I abandon outcomes to you, praying, “Your will, your way, your time.”
Forget. Forgive. And move forward.
Dream Big and Pray Hard,
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